D*S Art Class

D*S Art Class: Super Simple Silkscreen

by Maxwell Tielman


After letting us stop by ArtShack for a tour of her classroom, preschool art teacher Romina Wixom was kind enough to share one of the go-to projects she uses with her students— Super Simple Silkscreening! I’ve never learned to screen print, but this project is a remarkably easy way to become acquainted with the technique. Using everyday supplies like tape and contact paper, one can skip the emulsion and get straight to printing away on paper, t-shirts, bags, and more! “This is a great lesson in positive and negative shape,” Romina says, “a tricky concept for any age.” Check out Romina’s full tutorial after the jump! —Max
  • A pre-stretched silkscreen
  • Silkscreen tape or contact paper
  • screen printing ink
  • a squeegee
  • A surface to print on (we used a tote bag!)

1) On the flat side of the silk screen, tape out your design, or if you are using contact paper, cut out your design and stick it on.Whatever you don’t cover of the screen surface will be what gets printed. I’ve often started this project by simply masking out a shape with painter’s tape on paper and letting the kids paint over it. They love to peel the tape off once the paint has dried to reveal the crisp edges.

2) After you have your design on the screen, lay it with the flat side down, the frame facing up. If you are printing on a bag or a t-shirt, lay a piece of scrap paper inside to insure that the design won’t leak through to the other side.


3) Lay a dollop of ink across the upper surface.


4) Holding the frame in place with one hand, use the squeegee to press the ink through the screen. Pull at a downward angle toward your body. When working with kids, it’s best to hold the screen for them, and allow them to pull the squeegee across the surface! Remove the screen and allow your design to dry!


Suggested For You


  • Love this! I have been wanting to get into screen printing for awhile, so this is super helpful. Quick question, how many times can you use the same screen before washing it, or do you need to wash it between each print? Thanks!

  • My son is an incredible artist. He keeps asking me if I can help him make a t-shirt of his artwork. I’ve been wanting to to a simple experiment with him so that I can help him with his vision and foster creativity. Thanks for this! Do you have any other recommendations for hand-drawn artwork?

  • Love screen printing and this is such a great simple intro for anyone who wants to give it a try! Great job!

  • This is great!! Screen printing is super fun, but the photo-emulsion method turns a lot of people off.

    You don’t necessarily need to wash it that often (at least with conventional printing)
    The only real concerns you need to keep an eye on are if your ink is getting dry on the screen (that’ll ruin it, or at least stain it) and if you get any ink on the back of your screen where your design is (in this case, if you got ANY ink on the back of the tape, any at all.. it’ll make your design all smudgy and weird)

    Photo emulsion screen printing is a lot easier than it seems.. it just takes a few failures to get the hang of it.
    But, you can also use drawing fluid and screen filler (not photo sensitive) which is sort of the same concept as tape, but you paint it on to block out the design.
    better explanation here: http://www.dharmatrading.com/screenprinting/drawing_fluid.html

  • tks for sharing! i’ve always wanted to take a few silkscreen classes but the emulsion stuff sounded too complicated – now you make it look so simple and easy that i’ll just have to give it a very good try…

  • This is so fun! Love the tut- thanks!

    There is also a way to do ‘silkscreen’ by cutting out a piece of sheer fabric (as in curtain sheers), taping it taut between cardboard (cereal
    box), then use a stencil and acrylic paint. A better more thorough explanation can be found on Quilting Arts site, an Interweave magazine product (quiltingarts.com). I believe you can find it in the free info area.
    Now I have 2 diff methods to try. :-)